Shiv Kumar, pitch curator at Kanpur’s Green Park stadium, was happy after India scripted a 197-run win against New Zealand in the historic 500th Test on Monday.
Before the match, Kumar was apprehensive that he might be criticised again for preparing a ‘bad’ pitch, especially after South Africa lost to India within three days on dusty turf in 2008.
“I didn’t take any chance this time around and prepared a wicket which would give equal opportunity to both batsmen and bowlers,” Kumar told HT after the match.
“For the first time, we used a technique called pitch rolling, which helps make the deck hard and perfect for batting. The use of the three-layered pitch too produced positive results,” he added.
“We have clear instructions to follow ICC and BCCI guidelines to prepare result-oriented wickets and that’s the reason why there is no such thing as home advantage these days,” said Kumar. “There was no question of any gimmick in pitch preparations.”
In fact, India’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar too patted Kumar for preparing a lively wicket. “It encourages you when people like your job…this will keep me motivated.”
Before the start of the match, coach Anil Kumble and skipper Virat Kohli had high hopes from the wicket and the pitch lived up to their expectations, producing a favourable result in this historic Test.
India also completed a hat-trick of victories on this ground. Before Monday, MS Dhoni and Co had an innings and 144-run win against Sri Lanka in 2009 and an eight-wicket victory against South Africa in 2008. India’s overall record on this ground in 22 Tests is seven wins, 12 draws and three losses.
Of the six Tests played here in the last 10 years, five have produced results with India beating South Africa by 280 runs in 1996. On Monday, India kept the winning streak against New Zealand intact as it was their second consecutive win in as many as three ties so far. In 1999, India had clinched an eight-wicket win.